One Mad Dog


[Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 1. Resurrection and Danse Macabre] – (Pat Mills, Olivier Ledroit)
February 13, 2013, 8:11 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Olivier Ledroit, Pat Mills, Requiem Vampire Knight

Volume 1 collects the English Translations of Tome 1 “Resurrection” and Tome 2 “Danse Macabre”. The original stories were published in France but were written by British comic book author “Pat Mills” of 2000AD and Charley’s War fame. This is the first of 5 volumes.

Requiem is the story of a German soldier named Heinrich Augsburg who is killed fighting on the Russian front during World War 2. He finds himself transported to a dark and twisted world (Resurrection) where evil souls are reborn as monsters.  In Resurrection people are re-incarnated according to their sins and find themselves as Zombies, Ghouls,  Vampires or several other strange creatures.  The actual type of monster depends how evil the person was in their past life. The most evil come back as Vampires who are the social elite and ruling class.

Resurrection itself is a backward mirror of earth where the seas are land and the land becomes huge lakes of fire.  People are transported to this world at the age they expired and they grow younger rather than older until they eventually cease to exist.  It is also a world where good is bad and archaeologists bury artifacts rather than dig them up to protect people.  My impression of the planet is that it is Pat Mill’s representation of hell.

Heinrich is reborn as Requiem, a member of the Vampire Elite, with a burning desire to find the woman he loved and betrayed during his lifetime (Rebecca).  Unusually, he has not entirely lost his sense of fair play in his transition to Vampire and this character trait causes him to be unpopular amongst some of his Vampire peers. It is difficult to know how to view characters actions in this book as the world is a reversed reality but there truly are some monsters. Heinrich seems to be one of the few hanging onto some sort of humanity but others are as sick as anything you will find in any horror fiction.

The subject matter is very violent with lots of S&M, Slavery, torture and even sexual content. Mills does a great job of slowly unraveling the complicated concepts of the reality whilst driving the story along. The reader is bombarded with a large array of characters to try to keep track of but the artwork does a good enough job to not make this a chore. I enjoyed the way our main character manages to begin to unravel his new reality and the pace of the book is anything but pedestrian.  People familiar with the writing style of Pat Mills will instantly recognize his style of social – political writing and this stands up well to his other work.

The artwork is very well put together with Grotesque characters, enormous complex backdrops and a great sense of movement (this is definitely not a talking heads book).  The style of the art reminded me of Nemesis the warlock in its level of complexity but this book is in glorious full color.  The complex page layouts and very heavy use of red give this book a dramatic impact. The only down side of this swathe of dark red is that the book does need to be read in a brightly lit room as the text is often barely discernible from the art work.  It is a visual feast for the eyes and the subject matter oozes with gore and nudity.

Requiem Vampire Knight is not a light read but if you are a fan of horror fiction and/or Pat Mills you should find this a good read. There are absolutely no translation issues that I found. ISBN-13: 978-1846534379. 8/10

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[Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 02] – (Pat Mills, John Wagner, Mike McMahon, Gary Leach, Brendon McCarthy, Dave Gibbons, Brett Ewins, Ron Smith, Brian Bolland,

Volume 2 collects the Judge Dredd appearances in 2000AD from prog 61 through to Prog 115 but unfortunately with several progs missing due to copyright infringements. Missing from this collection are progs 71-72 and 77-78. This book contains two epic story arcs in the form of “The Cursed Earth” (Progs 61 to 85) and “The Day the Law Died” (Progs 89–108 and prologues in 86–88) which are themselves linked together. It also collects “Punks Rule !” (Prog 110), “The EXO-MEN” (Progs 111 – 112), and “The DNA Man” (Progs 113-115)

Writers:

  • Pat Mills (“The Cursed Earth” – Progs 61-70, 73-76, 81-85)
  • John Wagner (“The Cursed Earth” – Progs 79 and 80), (“The Day the Law Died” – Progs 86 – 108), (“Punks Rule” – Prog 109), (“The EXO-MEN” Progs 111, 112), (“The DNA Man” – Progs 113 – 115)

Artists:

  • Mike McMahon  (The Cursed Earth – Progs 61-64, 66-68,73-76, 79 -80,83-85), (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 89-91, 96 -97, 99, 100)
  • Brian Bolland (“The Cursed Earth”  – Progs 65,69,70, 81,82), (“The Day the Law Died” – Progs 86-87, 94-95, 98,  101 – 102,  (“Punks Rule” – Prog 110)
  • Ron Smith (“The EXO-MEN” – Progs 111,112), (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 104 , 106, 107, 108)
  • Brett Ewins (“The DNA Man”  – Progs 113 -115), (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 88,92, 105)
  • Dave Gibbons (“The Day the Law Died” – Prog 87
  • Brend0n McCarthy (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 88, 105)
  • GaryLeach (“The Day the Law Died” Progs 94 -95, 103)

Both main story lines in this volume are classic Judge Dredd at his prime.  The story telling is witty and sharp and the epic arcs format read very well in collected form. The shorter stories in this book are also a really good read.

There isn’t any bad artwork in this collection but there are some distinct differences in style. Mike  McMahon’s art is quite rough and gritty at the start but seems to improve in it’s level of detail and clarity as the progs progress.  Bolland’s artwork is crisp and highly detailed and he is my favorite Dredd artist in this collection. It’s just a shame he didn’t get to draw more progs.  Ewins and Smith also do some really good artwork and they both approach Bolland’s  attention to detail.

Volume 2 of the Judge Dredd case files is a must read for Dredd fans. ISBN-13: 978-1906735999. 8/10.



[Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01] – (John Wagner, Pat Mills, Brian Bolland, Ian Gibson, Mike McMahon, Gerry Finley-Day, Peter Harris, Kevin Gosnell, Malcolm Shaw,Massimo Belardinelli, Ron Turner, Joe Collins)

Even if people have never heard of the top UK Sci-Fi comic 2000AD they have most likely heard of Judge Dredd. No doubt this is as a result of the rather poor Stallone movie rather than the excellent comic books.  For those who have not heard of Judge Dredd, he is a lawmaker of the future fighting crime and dealing justice on his trusty lawmaker.  His adventures are set in 2099AD in a very hostile version of the earths future.

Volume 1 collects all the Judge Dredd appearances in 2000AD from prog 2 all the way through to Prog 60 including :

  • “Judge Whitey”  written by Peter Harris with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #2)
  • “The New You”  written by Kelvin Gosnell with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #3)
  • “The Brotherhood of Darkness”  written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #4)
  • “Krong” written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Carlos Ezquerra (prog #5)
  • “Frankenstein II”  written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #6)
  • “The Statue of Judgement”  written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #7)
  • “Antique Car Heist”  written by Charles Herring with art by Massimo Belardinelli (Prog#8)
  • “Robots” written by John Wagner with art by Ron Turner (Prog#9)
  • “Robot Wars” written by John Wagner with art by Carlos Ezquerra (Prog #10), Ron Turner (Progs #11, 13 & 16), Mike McMahon (Prog#12 & 15) and Ian Gibson (Progs#14 &17)
  • “Brainblooms”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#18)
  • “Mugger’s Moon” written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by John Cooper (Prog#19)
  • “The Comic Pusher” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#20)
  • “The Solar Sniper” written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Ron Turner (Prog#21)
  • “Mr Buzzz” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#22)
  • “Smoker’s Crime” written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #23)
  • “The Wreath Murders” written by Malcolm Shaw with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#24)
  • “You Bet Your Life” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#25)
  • “Dream Palace” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#26)
  • “The Academy of Law”  written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#27) and Mike McMahon (Prog#28)
  • “The Neon Knights” written by Pat Mills with art by Ian Gibson (prog#29)
  • “The Return of Rico” written by Pat Mills with art by with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#30)
  • “Devil’s Island”  written by Gerry Finley-Day with art by Ian Gibson (prog#31)
  • “Komputel” written by Robert Flynn with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #32)
  • “Walter’s Secret Job” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#33)
  • “Mutie the Pig” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#34) and Ian Gibson (Prog#35)
  • “The Troggies” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#37) and Ian Gibson (Prog#36)
  • “Billy Jones” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#38)
  • “The Ape Gang” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#39)
  • “The Mega-City 5000” written by John Wagner with art by Bill Ward (Prog#40) and Brian Bolland (Prog#41)
  • “Luna 1” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#42)
  • “Showdown on Luna 1” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#43)
  • “Red Christmas” written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog#44)
  • “22nd Century Futzie” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#45)
  • “Meet Mr Moonie” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#46)
  • “Land Race” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland (Prog #47)
  • “The Oxygen Desert”  written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Progs#48 & 49)
  • “The First Luna Olympics” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland. (Prog#50)
  • “Luna 1 War” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland (Prog#51)
  • “The Face-Change Crimes” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland. (Prog#52)
  • “The Killer Car” written by John Wagner with art by Ian Gibson (Progs #53-56)
  • “The Oxygen Board” written by John Wagner with art by Brian Bolland (Prog#57)
  • “Full Earth Crimes” written by John Wagner with art by ???? (Prog#58)
  • “Return to Mega-City”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #59)
  • “Firebug”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike McMahon (Prog #60

Bonus Stuff:

  • “The First Dredd” written by Pat Mills and John Wagner with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • “Walter the Wobot : Tap Dancer” written by Joe Collins with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#50)
  • “Walter the Wobot : Shoot Pool!”  written by Joe Collins with art by Ian Gibson (Prog#51)
  • “Walter the Wobot : Walter’s Brother” written by Joe Collins with art by Brian Bolland (Progs#52 – 56)
  • “Walter the Wobot : Radio Walter”  written by Joe Collins with art by Brian Bolland (Prog#57) written by Joe Collins with art by Brian Bolland (Progs#58)

Judge Dredd Case Files Volume 1 is mainly made up with one shot issues about Dredd fighting crime and upholding the law. Looking at the list above it can be seen that pretty much every issue of 2000AD  changed the writer or artist (or both) between consecutive issues which sounds like a recipe for disaster.  Reading a collection with such a diverse collection of writers and artists  is usually a bit of an unsatisfying experience as a trade lends itself much better to longer story arcs. That isn’t the case with this book and I ended up really enjoying the overall experience.  Although most of the stories are one shots there are still some developing themes that run through the books such as Dredd’s robo servant Walter, the odd criminal, Mega City 1 and Luna 1. The artists and writers obviously did their research before they contributed.

Its hard for me to single out particular stories that I enjoyed but the longer arc about a robot revolution (Robot Wars)  stood out. Even though it a pretty common story premise across the different characters in 2000AD/Starlord it was good to see Dredd’s character flesh out a little over a multi-part story. This story also introduced his somewhat annoying sidekick Walter the service droid who got his own strip eventually (see bonus material).

The “Case Files Volume 1 ”  is drawn by a bewildering array of artists including some of the cream of 2000AD.  Although Dredd does look different between consecutive issues I think the old 2000AD editorial team did a great job of keeping the feel the same. The artwork is generally from black and white originals although it does appear that some of the scans have been made from color sources. The reprint quality is pretty good and it captures the original feel of the comics well. It is hard for me to choose a favorite Dredd artist from this collection but the good news is that there are no standout bad interpretations. My least favorite Dredd is Mike McMahon’s interpretation where Dredd has a Mick Jagger lips.

The US edition is printed on a coarser paper stock than the UK  collections I have but it has a nice weight and suits the content perfectly.   The bonus material is also a nice touch even if you are not a huge fan of Walter.[ISBN-13: 978-1906735876]. 8/10



[Doctor Who Classics Omnibus Vol 1] – (Pat Mills, John Wagner, Dave Gibbons, Steve Moore, Grant Morrison, John Ridgeway, Steve Parkhouse)

This Doctor Who collected edition is set for the most part in the Tom Baker era and it is  written and illustrated by some very big names in British comics.  The writing is witty  and intelligent and the art is of a high standard throughout.  I believe these stories were originally published in B/W and they have been updated in Color for this edition.  Charlie Kirchoff has done a excellent job of coloring  and it looks like they were always supposed to be this way.

I particularly enjoyed the Pat Mills/John Wagner written episodes “City of The Dammed”  and “Dogs of Doom” both of which had a very 2000AD feel to them.  “Dragons Claw”  and “Dreamer of  Death” written by Steve Moore were also great stories. I felt that the one shot stories didn’t really have time to breathe and were not quite as good as the multi part arcs.  Each story followed a familiar formula where the doctor is pitted against seemingly insurmountable odds and by cunning, guile and jelly babies he always seems to save the day (well nearly always). All the stories had a very British Comics feel to them.

This Collected edition Contains:

  • “Doctor Who and the Iron Legion” written by Pat Mills and John Wagner with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “City Of The Dammed” written by Pat Mills and John Wagner with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Timeslip”  with art and story by Paul Neary
  • “Doctor Who and the Time Beast” written by Pat Mills and John Wagner with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Doctor Who and the Dogs of Doom” written by Pat Mills and John Wagner with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Doctor Who and the Time Witch”  written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Dragons Claw” written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “The Collector” written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Dreamer of Death”  written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Changes*” written by Grant Morrison with art by John Ridgeway.
  • “Culture Shock**” written by Grant Morrison with art by Bryan Hitch.
  • “The World Shapers” written by Grant Morrison with art by John Ridgeway.
  • “The Life Bringer” written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “War of The Worlds”  written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Spider God” written by Steve Moore with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “The Deal”  written by Steve Parkhouse with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “End of The Line”  written by Steve Parkhouse with art by Dave Gibbons.
  • “Free-Fall Warriors” written by Steve Parkhouse with art by Dave Gibbons.

* Colin Baker.
** Sylvester McCoy.

This is a great book for fans of classic era doctor who and British Sci-Fi comics in general. The book is a nice convenient size and is printed on good quality glossy paper stock. If you are a Tom Baker era Doctor Who fan you should enjoy this book. [ISBN-13: 978-1600106224] 7/10.



[The Best Of Battle] – (Various)

I never read “Battle” when I was a kid and read their rival “Warlord” instead. It looks like I  really missed out on some great stories and this book provides a taste of what I missed.  I enjoyed all the stories in this book and they capture the cream of British war comics admirably. The Black and white artwork is excellent throughout and even the B/W  printed versions of the color strips look good.  The only strip that I had read before was pat Mill’s excellent “Charley’s War”.

My only real criticism is that because they included so many different stories it meant that all you got was a short taster of each.  It was annoying for instance that theyonly included 3 out of 6 episodes of “Hold Hill 109”.  I hope they will produce some “Complete” versions in the future.

Included in this collection:

  • “D-Day Dawson” written by Gerry Finley Day and Ron Carpenter with art by Colin page.
  • “Day of The Eagle” written by Eric Hebden with art by Pat Wright.
  • “The Bootneck Boy” written by Gerry Finley Day and Ian MacDonald with art by Giralt.
  • “Rat Pack” written written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • “Major Easy” written by Alan Hebden with art by Carlos Ezquerra.
  • “Fighter From the Sky” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Geoff Campion.
  • “Hold Hill 109″  written by Steve MacManus” with art by Jim Watson.
  • “Darkies Mob”  written by John Wagner with art by Mike Western.
  • “Panzer G-Man” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Geoff Campion.
  • “Johnny Red” written by Tom Tully with art by Joe Colquhoun.
  • “Joe Two Beans” written by John Wagner and art by Eric Bradbury.
  • “The Sarge” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Mike Western
  • “The Early Adventures of Hellman of Hammer Force”  written by Gerry Finley Day with art by Mike Western.
  • “Crazy Keller” written by Alan Hebden with art by Eric Bradbury.
  • The General Dies At Dawn” written by Gerry Finley Day with art by John Cooper.
  • “Charley’s war” written by Pat Mills with art by Joe Colquhoun.
  • “Fighting Mann” written by Alan Hebden with art by Cam Kennedy.
  • “Death Squad” written by Mark Andrew with art by Eric Bradbury.

This book is highly recommended as an introduction to the golden era of British war comics. [ISBN-13: 978-1848560253]. 9/10



[The Complete Robusters] – (Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Chris Stevens, Carlos Pino, Dave Gibbons, Ian Kennedy, Jose Lewis Ferrer, Kevin O,Neil, Kev.F Sutherland, Dave Harwood, Steve Dillon, Bryan Talbot, Joe Eckers, Mike Dorey)

The Monthly UK Comic book Starlord was a huge thing for me when I was a kid. It was unlike any other comic I had ever read and I instantly became hooked. I still vividly remember the first issue that my mum bought me to read on a train trip to visit my grandparents. One of my favourite story lines in Starlord was “Robusters” and it is great to finally see it collected in one large TPB. The good news is that the adventures of Rojaws and Hammerstein are as good as I remember them to be. The bad news is that the book is just Black and White and I seem to remember some of the stories were originally in Colour. The other bad thing is that the book looks like it was made by photocopying the original comics. Some of the pages have blurry bands running down the middle and occasionally information is cropped off the top of the page.
Robusters is sort of like Thunderbirds but with ill behaved Robots and tyranical human bosses. It has that typical Pat Mills feel to it where every story has a not so hidden undercurrent that pokes fun at the class system, politics, the publishers or other social issues. The writing is witty and the artwork excellent for a comic series.

My favorite story is the “Terra-Meks” that features the writing of Pat Mills and the artwork of Dave Gibbons.  A true British Comic classic. [ISBN-13: 978-1905437825]. 8/10



[Slaine: The Books of Invasions: v. 3(Hardcover)] – (Pat Mills, Clint Langley)
April 16, 2010, 3:32 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Clint Langley, Pat Mills, Slaine
The third volume in the stunning “Books of Invasions” series collects books 5 and 6. The standard of artwork is again fantastic and the stories are top notch too. I really enjoyed both the books. The first book “Odacon” is a very satisfying conclusion to the battle with his adversaries and ends with Slaine setting off to look for his son. Slaine finds his son working in a freak show in the second book “Carnival”. The story in this book is a bit of a departure from the other books in that it takes the form of a bit of a murder mystery. The story and artwork in this story are probably the best in the series. (ISBN-13: 978-1905437306). 8/10.